Galle: The Sri Lankan Diaries
And finally, the last post on this Sri Lankan Diaries. Let me take you to a whirlwind tour of Galle, the UNESCO World Heritage fort located at the southern coast of Sri Lanka. From Amangalla, we decided to do a walking tour of the fort.
We began with a church that was just beside Amangalla. Of course, I wasn't able to take down the name of the church, but it dates back to the early 1800's.
We then headed south to the edge of Galle, passing by colonial buildings. It was pleasing to see that most of the structures were kept in tact. The streets were almost empty, so it was a nice stroll along a bustling tourist road that was lined with restaurants, guesthouses and shops.
We stopped over at Barefoot, the same store that offered several locally made products and handicrafts. This store was more charming of course, since it was housed in an old house that even had a lovely courtyard.
I was surprised to see a few tourists wandering the streets. There were more locals probably even residents of Galle, who were spending a lazy Sunday afternoon in the fort.
We then made it to the Galle Lighthouse, which was built in the 1840s. This is the oldest light station in Sri Lanka, making it the most visited lighthouse in the country of course.
I was told that the walls of Galle were built with coral, as evidenced by traces of shells on the walls themselves. Most have been covered by concrete as it was rebuilt during a great fire in the early 1900s.
Beyond the lighthouse was the coast of course, and here we see several Sri Lankans frockling in the public beach. The waves were high and wild, but the shores were protected by a break water. I didn't manage to go down the beach that was also very crowded.
We moved further on to the actual fortifications. We passed by more colonial buildings, and even abandoned houses. I wish they would convert these houses into unique guesthouses or backpacker inns, or even restaurants.
Much of Sri Lankan life was visible as we walked along Galle. We witnessed several families having a picnic by the rolling greens facing the sea. People were flying kites and children were running around. We even watched a cricket match briefly.
Finally, we reached the fortifications that had a view of the sea and the city outside the walls of Galle. Most of the fortifications are now destroyed, and only the top walls remain. I managed to walk along the edges of the walls, which was kind of exciting.
The fort had a very expansive view of the rough sea, and the fort indeed had a good vantage point to spot enemies approaching. The wind was blowing gently while the sun was preparing to set.
Galle reminded me so much of Intramuros, with locals also living inside the UNESCO site. I just found Galle more charming and laid back, just as the entire Sri Lanka made me feel. This emerging destination of a country looks so much like the Philippines, and even their people are very friendly. The difference is that Sri Lanka is so laid back, that time slows down, and people idly watch the world go by. For that, Sri Lanka has got to be one of my new favorites now, and I will definitely find time to go back soon.